Discovery’s final mission

The two astronauts were Stephen Bowen and Al Drew. These two space walkers had huge duties bestowed upon them. The vacuum and low temperature in space makes the space walk a challenging task. They departed from the U.S. Quest airlock at 11:18 am, dressed in specially designed protective spacesuit. This was the 154th spacewalk, since the first two station building blocks were connected in 1998. At the outset, Stephen Bowen was not the chosen spacewalker for this mission, but as spacewalker Tim Kopra met a bicycle accident, in January, Bowen replaced him in this mission. Praising Bowen for his adaptability and expertise, NASA flight director, David Korth said, “Steve brings a wealth of (spacewalking) experience. He’s a very seasoned shuttle astronaut, and he picked up quickly in (training) runs, coming up to speed on the path that we have.” While Bowen has an impressive five spacewalks in his career, as an astronaut and is also the first U.S. astronaut to fly consecutive missions, this was the first spacewalk for Al Drew. “He’ll be just fine, and we have absolutely every confidence that we’ll knock out all these tasks,” added Korth.

The tasks to be executed

The tasks which the astronauts have to carry out are as follows: 1. Arranging an electrical extension cable between the U.S. Unity module and the Quest airlock. 2. This cable is the power connection of the airlock heaters. The extension will make the maintenance work less time consuming once Discovery’s permanent stowage unit will set up on Unity’s Earth-facing port. 3. They will also have to move an ammonia pump to a peripheral cargo platform. 4. The astronauts will build a track for the Canadian rail car that will make the cargo movement easier. 5. They will put video camera reinforcement to provide clearance from an outer goods platform. The Discovery space shuttle will complete its historical journey and come back to earth on Mar. 7, at the Kennedy Space Center.

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